Our History in brief.

In the spring of 1858, seven Master Masons met and organized, and petitioned the Grand Lodge of Illinois for the authority to meet under dispensation pending the granting of a charter. The request was granted and Byron Lodge held its first meeting under the Grand Lodge dispensation on March 25, 1858. The officers of the Lodge included Master Charles F. Wertz, Senior Warden Charles F. Lewis and Junior Warden Edmond Connor. Wertz appointed Anning O. Campbell as Senior Deacon and Treasurer, Eleazer Lockwood as secretary, and George Wertz as tyler. Lewis then appointed J. Goodwell as Junior Deacon.

Byron Lodge #274 was formally constituted October 21, 1858. Right Worthy Deputy Grand Master E.H. Baker performed the ceremony and installed the Lodge officers: Master Charles F. Wertz, Senior Warden Charles F. Lewis, Junior Warden (pro tem) Nelson H. York, Treasurer Anning O. Campbell, Secretary J.P. Martin, Senior Deacon Royal Putnam, Junior Deacon Julius P. Smith, Stewards Dudley Wood and Solomon Dwight, and Tyler George Wertz.

The first regular election of officers occurred December 16, 1858 with all elective officers retained. They were installed January 13, 1859 with the help of Samuel Davis Lodge #96 of Rockford and Past Grand Orator D.C. McNeil.

Byron has changed greatly since 1858. Horses have been replaced by automobiles and airplanes as modes of transportation, passenger trains have been replaced by freight trains, the school building that held both the elementary and high school students has been replaced by a multi-building educational campus, the agricultural landscape has been replaced by housing developments and a nuclear power plant, the independent merchants of a self-sufficient community have been replaced by chain stores. Through all the change in Byron over the past 150 years, there has been one constant - Freemasonry.

No man can live according to the principles and teachings of Ancient Craft Masonry and do anything, knowingly and willingly, that is contrary to moral and upright principles. Freemasonry frowns on every wrongful act and admonishes the right actions between each of us and the world at large. Freemasonry is and should always be a guide to our actions. Freemasonry is kindness in the home, honesty in business, courtesy in society, fairness in work, pity and concern for the unfortunate, resistance toward evil, help for the weak, forgiveness for the penitent, love for one another and, above all, reverence and love for God. Freemasonry is many things but, most of all Freemasonry is a way of life ...

Here is a picture of our first Lodge Hall.

©David Warner, 2003